Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart has been sidelined since November 21, 2015 with a left leg injury, but could return as soon as tomorrow against the New York Knicks.
According to head coach Brad Stevens, Smart would not see any tune-up games in the D-League, but would play limited minutes upon re-joining the Celtics' line-up:
Stevens says Marcus Smart could play as soon as tomorrow against Knicks, but it would be on a strict minutes restriction.— Steve Bulpett (@SteveBHoop) December 26, 2015
Smart has been "deemed healthy." Now a matter of getting him ready to play. Stevens says he needs 5-on-5 time, whether in practice or game.— Steve Bulpett (@SteveBHoop) December 26, 2015
Stevens said a D-league assignment for Marcus Smart is not in cards bc the Red Claws are on the West Coast and he'd rather have Smart w C's.— Marc D'Amico (@Marc_DAmico) December 26, 2015
In addition, Brad Stevens suggested that Smart would be integrated into the second unit upon his return as opposed to jumping back into the starting 5:
When Marcus Smart returns, he'll come off the Celtics bench and play limited minutes (about eight per half) for at least 10-14 days.— Sean Grande (@SeanGrandePBP) December 26, 2015
In Smart's 9 games this season, he has averaged 9.8 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 29.1 minutes per game. During his absence the past 17 games, the Celtics have won 9 and lost 8.
According to teammate Evan Turner, Smart's energy and hustle on the court has been greatly missed, especially during their 3-game losing skid:
#Celtics Evan Turner: When we need it, Marcus Smart always seems to get us a loose ball, a rebound, or damn near start a fight.— Scott Souza (@Scott_Souza) December 19, 2015
#Celtics Evan Turner: We're not panicking. We just need Marcus Smart back ... Or Larry Bird.— Scott Souza (@Scott_Souza) December 19, 2015
Photo: Jessica Hill/Associated Press Danielle Hobeika 12/26/2015 08:03:00 PM Tweet Edit